Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Uphill Climb Left for Genclerbirligi

The following article appeared on my friend Oz Kanka's blog, The Round Ball in Ankara ( Oz is a Genclerbirligi supporter and did an interesting recap of yesterday's game and the upcoming Super Lig game this weekend. Please visit Oz's blog - he has a great site. You can also read the article in its entirety here:

Here is Oz's article:

Uphill climb left for Genclerbirligi

As you may know my computer crashed a week or so ago and I couldn't sort it out despite getting a new hard drive installed. For this reason I invited computer genius Flying Dutchman Carlo over to my place to help me out and it just so happened that a footy game was on the TV as well. While Carlo did his magic, Genclerbirligi couldn't, going down to Fenerbahce in an empty stadium away from home in the first leg of the Turkish Cup quarter finals.

Fenerbahce 2 - Genclerbirligi 1

Genclerbirligi started off well enough controlling the ball but as usual never really finding a chance for a shot on goal. Fener had the first real chance of the match and then Gencler had one or two. It was all midfield stuff and Gencler should really learn to keep the ball on the ground for those short passes.

There was one strange incident where Okan Ozturk was going up for a header somewhere in midfield. He got a slight whack in the head by a bum (that was not an insult but referred to the fact he got hit by a Fenerbahce player's bottom). He went down, it was impossible to stay up, and the referee blew his whistle within milliseconds for the medical people to come on, even though Okan was not even pretending to be hurt. What annoyed me was that Okan then decided to walk off with the medics and thus wasn't up front for the subsequent free kick. If you aren't injured Okan... stay on the bloody pitch.

Then came disaster in the last minute of the first half. Fener had a freekick. The ball is kicked, referee blows whistle, ball goes into back of net, Fener players rush the referee, ref gives Traore a yellow card, ref gives Fener a penalty, goal to Fener.

Anyone else notice how the above events are out of sequence. Flying Dutchman Kanka Carlo certainly did. If the referee thought the offence deserved a penalty he should have given it straight away, not after two minutes of shouting from the Fener players. No wonder in the Turkish game players complain to the ref so much... it works!

Leaving that aside there was no way that it should have been a penalty. Sure Traore was wrestling around with a Fener attacker who was also wrestling around with Traore. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Second half and Fenerbahce started bringing on some of the players they had been resting, namely Tuncay, David (or however he spells his name) and Kezman but it was Gencler who scored after a lovely pass across the goal at an angle found Mehmet Cakir who slotted it home.

1-1 at this stage and it seemed as if both teams were happy with the result as we got to see some pretty boring footy.

The Gencler defence had clearly gone to sleep when Fenerbahce wrapped it up in the last minute or so.

In what seemed like slow motion the ball was crossed into the box where neither Mehmet Nas nor the other defender (the bloke with a corn row-style haircut) were marking their man. The result, a simple header in which our keeper Jesus had no chance of getting to.

Time and again we saw why we shouldn't have sold Risp.

A mountain to climb for the return match in a few weeks time but we get to see it all again on Friday when it is Fenerbahce versus Genclerbirligi in the (Your Company's Name Here) Super Lig.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More Drama As Fenerbahce Wins 2-1

Fenerbahce continued their unbeaten streak through the Fortis Turkish Cup on Tuesday, but it wouldn't be without drama. Fener defeated Genclerbirligi 2-1 with the winning goal coming from Semih Senturk only moments before the end of regulation. Genclerbirligi's goal was the first goal conceded by Fenerbahce in their five Fortis Turkish Cup games thus far.

Fener got on the boards first when Mehmet Yozgatli found the back of the net on a penalty kick in the 45th minute, right before the break. Twelve minutes later, Cakir evened the score at 1-1 with a goal for Genclerbirligi. The score would remain the same for the next 32 minutes as it looked like Fener was headed for its second straight 1-1 draw. However, with only seconds remaining in regulation, Semih Senturk, the hero from last month's win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Cup, again saved Fenerbahce with a bullet into the back of the net, sealing the 2-1 victory.

Zico rested many of the starters today, but did bring several in when the game was in question in the second half. He had hoped to rest many of them for this, their second of three games in one week. Mehmet Yozgatli received a yellow card for Fener in the 22nd minute.

These two teams will meet again in just a few days, this time with crucial points in the Turkcell Super Lig at stake. Fener defeated Genclerbirligi in their previous meeting in August in Ankara by a score of 2-0. Sukru Saracoglu will be the host this time, as Fener will look to increase its lead atop the standings.

Starting Eleven for Fener; Zico Resting Most

We're 15 minutes from kickoff for today's Fortis Turkish Cup game vs. Genclerbirligi. Fenerbahce will go with the following starting eleven: Serdar, Ümit, Serkan, Can, Edu, Kemal, Aurelio, Mehmet, Semih, Tümer, Olcan. Noticably absent are several Fener starters, including Tuncay Sanli, Volkan Demirel, Diego Lugano, Stephen Appiah, Mateja Kezman, etc.

Fener, Genclerbirligi Get to Know Each Other This Week

Fenerbahce will get to know their Turkcell Super Lig opponents Genclerbirligi quite well this week, starting today with a Fortis Turkish Cup match against the "Red-Blacks." This weekend, the Canaries will also host them at Sukru Saracoglu. Today's kickoff is at 1 PM EST in the U.S.

Fener is hoping to erase the bad memory of last weekend's draw vs. Kayseri Erciyesspor. A costly mistake by GK Volkan Demirel allowed Erciyesspor to get on the board first, and one point was barely salvaged when Alex de Souza found the back of the net in the 83rd minute. The game was a microcosm of Fenerbahce's losses and draws this season - missed opportunities. Deivid de Souza and Tumer Metin both had fantastic opportunities to get on the scoreboard for Fener, but couldn't take advantage of their opportunities. To make matters worse, Galatasaray and Besiktas both won over the weekend inching closer to Fener in the standings. Besiktas's win came from a magnificent hat-trick performance by former Canary Marcio "Mert" Nobre.

Genclerbirligi is hoping to make a significant move in the tables this season, aiming toward their goals of repeating their 2003-2004 success in the UEFA Cup. They currently sit in sixth place in the league, tied in points with Kayserispor. They are only five points behind third place Besiktas, and eleven points behind Fenerbahce.

Today's opponent will be a familiar one for several Fenerbahce players, including Deniz Baris and Umit Ozat. Both players once played for Genclerbirligi.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fener Draws 1-1 with Kayseri Erciyesspor

Tonight's battle between Fenerbahce and Kayseri Erciyesspor was supposed to be a battle of wills - The will to win a lig championship (Fenerbahce) vs. the will to stay in the lig and avoid relegation (Erciyesspor). The will to stay alive prevailed, as Fener could only muster a 1-1 draw with Erciyesspor in Kayseri. It nearly looked disastrous for the Yellow Canaries, as the equalizer didn't come until the 83rd minute. Erciyesspor got on the board as the first half came to a close, with the goal coming from Cenk Isler in the 36th minute.

Fenerbahce had opportunities throughout the game, as Deivid de Souza was unable to take advantage of some advantages to put the ball in the back of the net. A mistake by Volkan Demirel fortunately did not result in no points, but Fener hoped to bring home more from Kayseri. Certainly, Erciyesspor is a much improved team than the one that lost 6-0 to Fener to open the season, but Zico and the Canaries don't want a repeat of last season, when they squandered a comfortable lead and lost the lig title.

Tumer Metin and Edu Dracena picked up yellow cards for Fenerbahce. Metin replaced Ugur just as the second half began, and Semih Senturk came in for Mehmet Yozgatli in the 60th minute.

Fener now turns their attention to Genclerbirligi who comes to Sukru Saracoglu next weekend. They will also have Fortis Turkish Cup games coming next week, and will resume UEFA Cup play in just a few weeks.

Fenerbahce vs. Kayseri Erciyesspor Underway

Fenerbahce vs. Kayseri Erciyesspor is underway at Ataturk Stadium in Kayseri. Fener's starting eleven is:

Volkan, Uğur, Edu, Deniz, Serkan, Ümit, Alex, Tuncay, Appiah, Mehmet, Deivid

Fenerbahce to Tuncay: Be Patient, Stay Calm for Transfer

It's no secret that the astounding play of Tuncay Sanli is starting to get attention all over Europe. Newcastle United and AC Milan are two clubs that have expressed interest in the Turkish national in recent weeks. Tuncay has indicated that he wants to remain with the club through the end of this centennial season, but his contract expires in May. He's left the door open for a possible exit to England or Italy, but Fener President Aziz Yildirim doesn't want to rush into any decisions.

Fenerbahce management recently told Tuncay "just focus on Fenerbahçe for now. We will not stand in your way. We will protect your rights and will always make the right decisions for everyone."

Will the lure of the English Premier League draw Tuncay away from Kadikoy? Only time will tell, but the Canaries will need his magnificent play down the stretch to bring home a 17th league title.

Korkmaz Says Erciyesspor Ready for Fenerbahce

Tonight's Turkcell Super Lig matchup will see two sides fighting for different reasons. Fenerbahce sits atop the league with a seven-point cushion over second place Galatasaray. The Canaries are committed to not faultering like last season, squandering a comfortable lead and losing the league title down the stretch. Kayseri Erciyesspor, on the other hand, is just fighting to stay alive. With the season halfway over, the side is fighting for points to avoid relegation. Despite losing to Fener 6-0 to start the season, Erciyesspor has a renewed hope for tonight's game.

After picking up only 11 points in 17 matches to start the season, Erciyesspor manager Werner Lorant was released from his contract and the team brought in former Turkish international Bulent Korkmaz. Korkmaz is no stranger to Fener, as he spent nearly 18 years with their rivals Galatasaray. Along the way, Korkmaz picked up a UEFA Cup title, a UEFA Super Cup championship, and nine league titles. Kayseri is hoping that he'll bring his winning attitude and experience to the club. He got off to a promising start after joining the club during winter camp in Antalya. Just last week, he lead Erciyesspor to a 4-2 win over Bursaspor on the road sending them to the Fortis Turkish Cup quarterfinals.

With renewed optimism, Korkmaz believes success can come to Kayseri Erciyesspor. "I have joined the team at their mid-season training camp in Antalya," he said. "I have discussed our plight with them positively and we looked into ways of avoiding relegation this season. The people of Kayseri are behind us and I'm optimistic we can overcome the difficulties ahead of us. In order to do so, we need everybody to contribute. The first match against Fenerbahçe will be the beginning of a whole new era for Erciyesspor."

Tonight's game will see which of the two teams fights the hardest. The one fighting for a championship, or the one fighting to stay alive.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fenerbahce Arrives in Kayseri

Fenerbahce arrived in Kayseri on Thursday, one day ahead of their meeting with Kayseri Erciyesspor. The match will take place on Friday evening, January 26 at 8 PM local time (1 PM EST in US). The game will mark the beginning of the season's second half, with Fener looking to increase its current seven-point lead in the Turkcell Super Lig standings.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fortis Turkish Cup Draw Matches FB vs. Genclerbirligi

After sweeping through the group stage of the Fortis Turkish Cup draw with four wins and zero goals allowed, Fener now finds itself matched with Ankara's Genclerbirligi as its next Cup opponent. The draw for the remaining eight sides was held Monday. Fener defeated Genclerbirligi on the road in Ankara in week two of the season in August by a score of 2-0.

The first leg of the matches will be played on January 30, 31, and February 1, with the second leg coming on February 27, 28, and March 1. The remaining Cup draw went as follows:

Galatasaray vs. Kayseri Erciyesspor
Besiktas vs. Vestel Manisaspor
Trabzonspor vs. Gaziantepspor

Istanbul BB No Problem for Fenerbahce

Fenerbahce cruised out of the group stage of the Fortis Turkish Cup on Saturday with an easy 5-0 win over Istanbul BB. Deivid de Souza contributed two goals for the Canaries, and Tuncay Sanli, Mehmet Yozgatli, and Semih Senturk each found the back of the net as well. Fener now sits atop the standings with 12 points in 4 games. Mehmet Aurelio was carded in the game, and Can Arat was sent off in the 56th minute. It wouldn't matter this day, however, as Fener could have won with five men if needed.

Zico was pleased with the team's performance, and despite the overmatched opponent, he saw it as a tremendous opportunity for the team to play competitively heading into the season's second half. The squad will now turn its attention to Erciyesspor, who lost 6-0 to Fener at Sukru Saracoglu to open the season. The second leg, however, sends Fener on the road looking to maintain their 7-point lead in the standings.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Turkiye Sitting at #27 In Latest FIFA Rankings

Turkiye dropped one spot in the latest FIFA world rankings, released this week. Turkiye slipped to #27 in the world, down from #26 in the previous rankings. The top four remained the same, while Germany moved up to #5, replacing England who dropped to #6. Turkiye sits one spot behind Scotland at #26, and one spot ahead of Ghana at #28. You can view the full world rankings on at,2548,All-Jan-2007,00.html

Former Canary Servet Cetin Headed to Russia?

Wednesday's Turkish Daily News reported that former Fenerbahce defender Servet Cetin may be exiting Sivasspor for Russian side Zenit St. Peterburg. Sivasspor coach Bülent Uygun indicated that Servet would be transferred if the two sides can agree on terms. Turkish national Fatih Tekke is also a member of Zenit St. Petersburg.

Besiktas Courting Alex de Souza?

Reports surfacing out of Istanbul indicate that Fenerbahce star Alex de Souza could exit Kadikoy for a trip across the Bosphorous if Fener does not come to terms with him on a new contract. Besiktas, who signed former Canary Marcio Nobre after last season, has expressed interest in the Brazilian-born player and could offer him $3.5 million per year. Alex, however, has indicated that he would likely stay with Fenerbahce if they offer him at least $3 million. Alex has indicated that he would indeed go to Besiktas if Fener doesn't meet his offer, but it appears to be a ploy for a new contract with Fenerbahce at this point. Stay tuned as the story continues to develop.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Newcastle, AC Milan Targeting Tuncay Sanli?

Reports surfacing out of England and Italy have indicated that Newcastle United and AC Milan are both interested in Fenerbahce star Tuncay Sanli.'s Ahmet Turgut is also reporting that AC Milan has expressed interest in Tuncay, but he has been less than receptive to leaving Fenerbahce. "This will only honor me. However, I do not think that I am such a great player as to be playing in Milan or Barcelona yet. However, we will discuss it when the time comes. But, I do not want to quit FenerbahCe in the team's 100th year anniversary."

Tuncay's contract with Fener runs through May 30, 2007. Tuncay will turn 25 years old in four days. Fener needs to retain the striker for a solid run in European competition, hopefully Champions League, next fall. A quick look around some of the AC Milan fan forums shows that many Milan fans are less than impressed with Tuncay. However, I'm sure they wouldn't want to see AC Milan in a rematch vs. Fener anytime this season...

Fenerbahce Defeats Ado Den Haag 4-1 in Antalya Cup

Fenerbahce defeated opponents Ado Den Haag 4-1 in Antalya Cup action on Friday at Ataturk Stadium in Antalya. Fener received goals from Tumer Metin in the 20th minute, Edu Dracena in the 33rd minute and again in the 38th minute, and Semih Senturk in the 87th minute. Ado Den Haag's lone goal came from Bunjevcevic in the 16th minute. Can Arat also received a yellow card for Fener.

Fenerbahce is currently in Antalya for the winter camp preparing for the second half of the Turkcell Super Lig season. Fener kicks off the second half in two weeks on the road against Erciyesspor.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fenerbahce Wants TFF to Pay for Rustu's Salary

As a result of GK Rustu Recber's injury suffered November 15 in the national team friendly vs. Italy, Fenerbahce has submitted a request to the Turkish Football Federation asking them to pay Rustu's salary during his recovery. Rustu tore a cruciate ligament during the game and is expected to be out until April.

Fenerbahce Vice-Chairman Sekip Mosturoglu stated that “We asked the TFF to pay for Rustu's wages as stated in his contract for the period he will not be able to play for Fenerbahce. We have a right to do that. As I recall, Galatasaray did the same when Hakan Unsal got injured in a national match.”

Turkish Football Federation Vice-Chairman Kemal Kapulluoglu confirmed Fenerbahce's application, adding that they would discuss it at a board meeting. “The issue is now been reviewed by our legal committee. It is a justifiable demand, and if the board agrees we will pay Rustu's wages until he again plays for Fenerbahce.”

Friday, January 05, 2007

Kezman Scores for Fenerbahce

This is a video that a friend of mine in Istanbul shot at the Fener vs. Galatasaray match on 1 December, 2006.

Antalya a Hot Spot for Football, Tourism During Winter

The following article appeared in Friday's Turkish Daily News regarding the popularity of Antalya for winter football camps. I don't typically post items from the Turkish Daily News, nor do I read it often do to their blatant bias against Fenerbahce, but this was a nice article on Antalya and what the winter football camps mean to them. Please visit to read the full article. Here is the text:

Friday, January 5, 2007

Many local and foreign teamsare rushing to Antalya, which offers good training camp conditions and tournaments like the Efes Cup

ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Turkish teams have long been escaping south during the winter break, but there is now a growing realization in central and northern Europe that in terms of facilities, service and above all cost Antalya is capable of competing on better than even terms with longer-established winter camp venues in Spain, Portugal, Greece and southern Italy.

Almost every Turkcell Super League team arranged a winter training camp in the Mediterranean province during the winter break. Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor have already started their camps, and Fenerbahçe flies to Antalya today. Moreover, not only Turkish clubs, but also many major European clubs prefer the “Turkish Riviera” for mid-season and pre-season camps.

The Efes Cup 6 tournament, which has become an annual feature of January life in Antalya, will be held at the Kundu WOW Football Center on Jan. 8-11. Beşiktaş and Galatasaray will compete for the title, both for prestige and the prize money, along with German side Werder Bremen and Feyenoord of the Netherlands.

On Jan. 8, Beşiktaş will face Werder Bremen and Galatasaray will take on Feyenoord on Jan. 9, both at 8:00 p.m., and the final match will be played between the winners of the two matches on Jan. 11.

Huge income:

It is estimated that soccer tourism will bring approximately 36 million euros into Antalya during the current winter tourism season.

According to reports, around 1,200 teams will have held training camps in Antalya between January and the end of March.

A Super League squad consists at the very least of 20 players. Most clubs have more than that, and coaches often use winter training camps to give promising juniors who are not yet in their first team squads the opportunity of working out with the senior professionals.

Not all the 1,200 teams visiting Antalya are out of the top drawer and some have smaller squads, but when an average of 20 spread across the 1,200 is assumed, it makes 24,000 players right there, representing a very large number of hotel beds.

First EAFE on Jan. 12-14:
Antalya has realized what winter tourism means to the city, and everybody is doing their best to contribute.
The first-ever Euroasia Football Expo (EAFE), a platform where companies from the global soccer industry will display their products and services, will take place on Jan. 12-14 in Antalya.
Besides providing excellent networking opportunities and speakers from the globe's soccer industry, the three-day program will also feature a conference and an exhibition.

Why Antalya?:
Some clubs from outside Turkey have become regulars, returning year after year, an indication that Antalya is on the whole providing satisfaction. The weather can be the main drawback. During January and February it often rains heavily for several days at a time. The hotels that have their own training pitches have paid great attention to the matter of drainage, but there is no drainage system known to man that can cope adequately with a four-day Antalya downpour.

However, when outdoor training is impossible, all is not lost. The big hotels have gymnasiums, though nowadays they mostly prefer to call them “fitness centers” where players can stay in shape. And they have well-equipped meeting rooms where coaches can discuss tactical matters.

A few years ago most of the hotels closed for the winter, but this has changed. Hotel owners have realized that key members of staff are not prepared to work on a seasonal basis and have to be paid year round if they are to be retained, and even an empty hotel costs a good deal to maintain.

Now the majority try to stay open throughout the winter. There is heavy business at New Year's, when many Turks take a break and travel south. The Belek establishments received a boost when the nearby National Golf Club opened, and it has since been joined by several other courses. Golf provides a steady stream of off-season guests.

They are going out and marketing their product in the main target areas. Those most heavily involved in this market offer soccer packages with special group price deals, guaranteed use of a training pitch and meeting room at specific times and perks such as free laundering of kit.

The number of teams in the region in winter brings them one fringe benefit in that there is absolutely no difficulty in arranging friendly matches against opponents of whatever quality is required. This generates still more revenue for the locals as pitches and match officials have to be hired. When hotel pitches are used, the hotels make an extra charge and municipal and other stadiums find themselves pressed into service as well.

The Efes Cup tournament is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a number of games going on along the coastal strip from Kemer to Alanya on any day of the week in January, and this has created a sub-sector of its own with certain travel and other agencies taking on the role of match organizers.

Fenerbahce: Appiah Is Not Leaving

Several media reports in Turkiye have reported that several European teams are interested in Fenerbahce defender Stephen Appiah, and that Appiah may himself be interested in leaving. Appiah is, however, under contract with Fenerbahce through 2009.

On Friday, Fener released a statement dismissing these rumors and stating that Appiah would be with Fener for the long-term. On the club's official website, they stated "The club needs unity in all competitions to be played in our centenary year and the whole club, from its director to its football player, is aware of its duties. Appiah is fulfilling his contract with this in mind.
Our player is not thinking about leaving the club and the club is not thinking about parting with the player. The club has not received any official offer for or has been in negotiations for the outward transfer of Appiah. We see such speculation as an effort to create instability in our team."

This isn't the first time rumors have circulated in the Turkish media regarding Appiah's departure from Kadikoy. After his strong performance in the 2006 World Cup for his native Ghana, reports began circulating that Fener would eventually sell the rights to Appiah to another European club. Despite the rumors, no strong evidence has circulated indicating that Appiah wants to leave or that Fener wants to part with the defender. There is certainly no doubt that as Fener obtains success and Appiah plays at a high level, other clubs will be interested.

Fenerbahce Arrives in Antalya for Camp

Fenerbahce arrived in Antalya for winter camp this week. Fener has three weeks to prepare for the second half of the Turkcell Super Lig season, which kicks off again the weekend of 27 January. Fener is taking up residence at the Arcadia Hotel in Antalya during camp.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tuncay Ignites the Crowd

I found this video on today and thought I'd share it. Just one more reason why Tuncay Sanli is the greatest...:)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sukru Saracoglu Illuminated for the New Year!

The above photos are from Sukru Saracoglu at night; illuminated as part of the club's 100th year celebrations and the new year celebration. Italian company "Festi"was responsible for the project of illuminating Sukru Saracoglu.

Happy New Year from Aziz Yildirim and Fenerbahce

From the official Fenerbahce website (

Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü President Aziz Yıldırım issued a statement wishing a happy new year to the nation, to clubs and to all the fans of Fenerbahçe.

Yıldırım said: "Us Fenerbahçe fans are more excited about this new year than any other. We will not just be greeting 2007, but the centenary year of Fenerbahçe.

All of us at the club aim to continue working throughout the new year in the same excitement we felt the first day, aiming to reach our targets of modernisation and institutionalisation. May 2007 bring peace, comfort and happiness to Turkey and the world."

Mutlu Yillar!

I am back from my holiday in Italy and wanting to wish Fenerbahce fans everywhere a Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday and is enjoying the winter break. I, for one, am going through withdrawals while the Turkcell Super Lig is on hiatus! The second half of the season cannot get here soon enough....